Mary Astell entry: Overview screen.
Writing and Life
Works By
Best known as a feminist theorist and polemicist, Mary Astell is also a fine poet and an energetic and funny controversialist on the political affairs of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century. A High Anglican and High Tory in politics, she was nevertheless outspokenly radical about matters concerning gender. Her regular publisher, Rich or Richard Wilkin, was known for his piety.
12 November 1666 MA was born in Newcastle, the eldest of her family. Bibliographic Citation link.
18 March 1683 The sixteen-year-old MA, still living at home in Newcastle, wrote the earliest-dated of her Pindaric odes, entitled "Enemies". Bibliographic Citation link.
16 July 1694 MA's first book was licensed for print: A Serious Proposal to the Ladies, by 'a Lover of Her Sex'. Bibliographic Citation link.
November 1700 MA anonymously published Some Reflections Upon Marriage, Occasion'd by the Duke and Duchess of Mazarine's Case; this has become the best-known of her works. Bibliographic Citation link.
July 1706 A third edition of MA's Reflections Upon Marriage dropped "Some" from the title and added most of her important preface. Bibliographic Citation link.
9 May 1731 MA died at Chelsea near London, in the house of her friend Lady Betty Hastings, of the effects of breast cancer, reported as "a dropsy or swelling tympany." Bibliographic Citation link.
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